Porter | Eel River Brewing Co.

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268 Ratings

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Certified Organic

Added by Reidrover on 07-12-2003

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 268 |  Reviews: 169
Photo of sendbeer
1.75/5  rDev -51%

Photo of wcross
1.8/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is really, really, weak porter, and is consistently bad. I keep buying it thinking that it will get better, but it always seems to disappoint. Sorry Eel River, but I'm over it. Weak head, watery mouthfeel, slightly roasty, off flavors in the aftertaste. Peace out - lots of other fish in the sea.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
1.94/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had this at happy hour at West Coast Tavern for only $3. Great deal but the beer was off for sure.

A - Served in a regular pint glass with about 2 fingers of foamy head. Not very much lacing

S - Buttery. Very little in the way of adjunct malts here. Just a little bit of sweet maltiness coming thru.

T - Diacetyl. Kind of a shocker as I've had other Eel Rivers that were great. Honestly I got about 1/3 of the way in and had the bar keep dump it.

M - It was thinish which does fit the style, but combined with the butter taste it felt gross.

D - Low. Diacetyl at this level in a commerical brew is unacceptable.

Note: The gf thought this was dirty lines. While she may have had a point (this was not a direct draw system) I can't really believe this level of butter would come from dirty lines. Our subsequent Lost Abbey Devotion didn't have line issues so I tend to steer toward a bad beer and or keg.

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Photo of alleykatking
2.03/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Pours a reddish brown color. The red hues show up a lot when held up to the light. One finger tan head dies down rather quickly. Some light soapy like lacing that falls into the glass.

S- Light roasted malts. Some coffee and light chocolate...not much else to be honest. This porter seems to be a baby porter at best.

T- Metallic bite from the get go that lasts through and through. Some light roasted malts in the front. A chocoalte sweetness hits the middle but even this is faint..could be the metallic taste I have on my palate. Watered down coffee flavor in the backing.

M- Light mouthfeel. Cabonation is good for the style. Flavors were watered down it felt like. Metallic flavors left on the palate and long into the aftertaste. Alcohol not drying at all on the palate. Just watered down and muddled in the aftertaste.

D- This beer is lacking most of the things I think it would take to be a porter. Could this be because it's organic? Who knows for sure...don't really care to drink this one ever again though.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.06/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appears a deep ruby when held to the light very dark porter with a large tan head forming thick and dropping quick. Left behind I note evenly clung thin speckled lacing on my chalice. Aromatics on this one mild roasted dark chocolate and stale coffee bitterness along with some astringent metallic qualities. Not much in the way of hop aromatics gotta love those limited organic hops. Flavor is a mess of dirty burnt roasted malt off with raw coffee roasted bitterness over percolated under sweetened this one makes me cringe a bit. After seeing reviews of the Imperial stout and Baltic Porter I figured they had a way with the darks, but this porter definitely lacks in more than one way. Mouthfeel is thin and carbonation is light giving the brew a watery thin texture compared to most full porters, finishing bitterness clings to the palate and won't let go. Scrape your tongue or get a chaser after this one. Drinkability is pretty weak I can't say it's good just because it's organic, I want some cohesive flavors this is one dimensionally burnt flavor doesn't do anything for me.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
2.22/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass/ no freshness date

P: Coca-cola brown with 3 fingers of tan foam that forms a pretty nice crown on top. The foam is thick and creamy, dense and firm, and shows good retention before it dissipates to form a thin skin on the surface. This looks pretty good.

A: Unfortunately, the nose lowers my expectations considerably. Lightly roasted malts, fudge, and coffee are there, but the aroma is pitifully weak. Even more concerning is that same weird sourness/funkiness that I first smelled in Bayhawk Ales Chocolate Porter (see review) that is not at all pleasant.

T: Well thankfully, it's nowhere near as bad as Bayhawk Ales' porter, but it ain't very good either. The fudge chocolate is there along with coffee, vanilla, and a slight hops presence, but it's so woefully under-malted that the roasted/burnt charcoal-like malts that are there seem really thin and flimsy. Lots of mineral notes underneath with a bit of a spicy hop kick on the finish. Just like the nose promised, the flavors are really weak, uninteresting, and very underwhelming. But at least the sour/funkiness is muted more than it was in the aroma. Not very good.

M: Eel River Organic Porter is medium-bodied, but with a smooth, kind of watery thin feel along with a moderate amount of carbonation. Furthermore, it has no creamy underbelly or even a slight amount of chewiness to speak of. Exactly the opposite of how I like my porters!

Notes: Well seeing as how this is my first brew from Eel River, I have no idea if this was a bad bottle, off batch, or if the brewery just simply makes beers that aren't to my liking. Whatever the case is, this beer sitting before me is a sad excuse for an American Porter. Now I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about trying the rest of their line.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of friedpotatoes
2.5/5  rDev -30%

Photo of rickyleepotts
2.5/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had this beer a few months ago… and I don't remember much about it. I had a long day today, and I am sore, so regardless what it tastes like, a beer is needed tonight. When I first tried this, I did know it was organic… but I didn't realize that Eel River was the first certified organic brewery in the United States. Learn something new every day. Now, let's drink.

In the Glass: For a porter, it's not as dark as I expected. It has a tan head, a light tan head, and a weak lace. Now that I think about it… I don't really know what makes a beer organic. Anyway, the beer doesn't look like a porter in the glass.

Nose: It smells like a porter! Man, that smells good. I am getting some dark chocolate notes, and am really digging the aroma. A second sniff, while it still smells like a porter, is changing a little bit in the nose. It is a complex aroma, and while not overpowering, it's nice and malty.

Flavor: The flavor is just OK. Actually, it's not even OK. It's pretty bad. It tastes like rusty copper. Imagine a dirty penny you find on the ground… put that in your mouth. That's what this beer tastes like. I am going to blame that on the fact it's organic… and while that might not have anything to do with it, I haven't had an organic beer that I like. The burp isn't much better. This beer smells a LOT better than it tastes.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is that of a typical porter… thin, and moving quickly across the palate. I just heard Sheryl say, "I kind of like it." Not sure why… because I can't dig anything but the aroma… and that's decent at best. I really don't want to dog a beer like this, especially coming from such a historic brewery.

Aftertaste: There isn't much of an aftertaste. With a porter, I expect that smoky… somewhat chocolatey aftertaste, and why those chocolate notes stick around for a little while… they are quickly gone again.

Hey, it's cool that this is the first certified organic brewery in the United States. But this beer just doesn't do it for me. I have been getting into bigger more malty beers lately, and I expected this to impress me… it didn't. Oh well, they can't all be good!

Eel River Organic Porter - The bottle says: "NA"

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Photo of Ricochet
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Black, no head , no lace, no carbonation that was noticed

S: Black licorice, more candy like burnt grain and chocolate with a fruity note

M: Thick and creamy at the top. Burnt toast aftertaste going down. Slight bitter.

T: Burnt toast, musty old fruitiness, slight celery remainder. Waxy chocolate flavor and very acidic.

These are not the flavors I like in a good porter. Second Eel River beer I've tried where bread is a strong flavor. It's odd. One and done for me.

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Photo of scottakelly
2.64/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium brown with ruby tinges on the outside of the glass. Medium head dissipates quickly. Aroma is of roasted grains and fruit. The flavor is very light for a porter. Some minimal chocolate and roast. Some caramel sweetness. There is also a faint tartness to this beer that, while not necessarily bad, is unique. Overall, not a very good porter.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.67/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

5.8% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with decent label art and "USDA Organic" branded pry-off cap acquired at a bottle shop in Santa Monica for $1.69 and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I can't remember being blown away by the brewery but I'm in the mood for a porter.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm somewhat over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger head of light khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Pretty good (~3-4 minute) retention. No bubble show. Little lacing. No "legs."

Body colour is a very dark ruby-brown; it might appear black to some, but look closer. Opaque, but quasitranslucent; it glows somewhat at the right angle of observation. No yeast particles are visible.

A bit off for a porter, but ultimately pretty standard. Not unique or special. No overt flaws. The colour is a bit weird.

Sm: Chocolate malt is dominant. Oats, light cream, dark malts. Buried unevocative roast. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Maybe some stale coffee? A mild strength aroma for the style. Not very impressive, but passable. It's a biteen suspect, but I'm optimistic.

T: Chocolate malts, oats, stale coffee, dark malts. Light cream. No real roast. No hop profile is noticeable. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Quite simple; lacks complexity and subtlety. Balance is okay, but leaves a lot to be desired. I'm underwhelmed. There's just not much happening here. Why brew this? Subpar flavour intensity and flavour duration. Not much depth of flavour. Meh.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Decent carbonation. Okay presence on the palate. Okay thickness. Doesn't really suit the flavour profile all that well, but it's passable. Not great at facilitating flavour delivery.

Dr: The organic beer gimmick seems to be supporting this brewery. It's quite an underwhelming beer. I certainly wouldn't get it again, though in its defense it isn't that egregiously overpriced. A disappointment from Eel River. Wouldn't recommend it to friends. Meh.

High C-

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Photo of mactrail
2.7/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Color is kind of an amberish brown in the wine glass. I can't fault the nice head and fizzy mouthfeel.

Hoping for some malt flavors but this is quite thin and on the harsh side. Watery body. Some roasted malt flavors but more of a dishwater taste. A hint of winey feeling. Bitterish aftertaste without any hoppy pleasures. Odd dirty aftertaste.

This doesn't taste like a Porter to me, and it seems like a low-hop amber with a murky flavor. From the 22 oz bottle bought at the market in Trinidad, California.

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Photo of sami1971
2.75/5  rDev -23%

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.78/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Eel River- Porter

A- Deep red almost black with a good frothy head. Nice lacing too.
S- Burnt coffee beans and cola syrup?
T- Sweet flat cola syrup with a heaping dose of burnt black coffee. Slight touch of black strap molasses.
M- Sweet and syrupy up front with a sharp bitter body and bitter/ acidic feeling in the throat.

Overall- Drinkable but just barely. This has to be bad. Their other offerings are pretty good. I would avoid this.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
2.81/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pretty nice looking dark, dark brown colour with hints of ruby when held up to the light, Head is creamy and has moderate retention time. A decent amount of residue is left on the glass after each sip.

Aroma is a bit disappointing: some chocolate and earthy notes, and perhaps some coffee, but there's also a bit of a funky, well, funk to it that sort of reminded me of a pair of sweaty, dirty socks. Not pleasant.

The flavour is more of the same, although a bit better than the aroma: the dirty sock thing is still present but much more subdued than in the aroma. Coffee seems to step up a bit more here and malt flavours are more burnt (and harsh) than roasted. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit hit despite a fairly low alcohol content, and a bit too carbonated at times as well.

Overall, this wasn't a porter I was overly impressed with. Some tweaking here and there could make this one work, but as it stands it's all over the map a bit too much, and that funky aroma/taste needs to be reeled it. Not awful, but borderline average and not recommended.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.82/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the Trappist in Oakland.

A: Pours a lightly translucent dark brown that seems black until the drink is finished enough to show its ruby-tinged clarity. Small cream-colored head; short retention, no lacing.

S: Typical porter smell: coffee-forward with chocolate, and roasted malts coming in last. Nothing too pungent or unique, but perfectly serviceable.

T: Same in the taste. Again, coffee-forward, but it is well supported by dark chocolate to produce a likeable first impression. The finish is roasty.

M: Medium-full bodied. Low carbonation. Watery in the finish.

D: I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I can think of a few other options I'd prefer over this one.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
2.85/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber pours into my glass a chocolate brown color with quite a bit of clarity letting a lot of light through. A red hue is there along with a quarter inch of off white head. Aromas start with a light roasted grain upfront along with notes of chocolate and a mild coffee and cream aspect as well. Reminiscent of toasted bread and somewhat one dimensional.

First sip brings a toasted grain malt body upfront, seems like a mix between light and dark malts possibly here. Somewhat roasty it leads into hints of chocolate, light coffee and some cream as well as a bit of fruitiness on the back of the palate. Mild hops bring in some bitterness on the end. Not really any depth of flavor here and is quite weak when compared to a standard porter.

Mouthfeel has a certain thin quality that is coupled with fast moving carbonation to give it a bit more oomph and some creaminess. Overall though, I was looking for a little more body here. I applaud this brew for being organic, which is always cool, however as a porter it falls a bit short and ends up being boring and more of a porter "light" than anything else. Thanks to kmpitz2 for grabbing me this bottle to sample.

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Photo of mdwalsh
2.9/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: The dark tan head on this beer got up to about 2 fingers, then quickly subsided to less than one and is holding. The beer is black with a red core when held up to light. It's too dark to tell anything about active carbonation or anything like that.

S: Not much going on here, some hops, some malt, sort of smells like saltwater though, not sure what that is all about. All in all, nothing really to talk about here

T: Black patent malt maybe? Roasted for sure, perhaps roasted unmalted. Sort of acidic, comparable to a watered down RIS than a porter with color achieved through lots of more subtle things.

M: Not to thick, not to thin, the right amount of carbonation as well. Probably the best part of this beer

D: The more I drink it the more it makes me think of old coffee, I will not be getting this beer again.

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Photo of woemad
2.95/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $1.39

Poured a dark brown with reddish highlights. Medium sized tan head. Not much lace.

Smelled mildly roasty, with a brown sugary sweetness that’s a little too sweet IMHO.

Taste was mildly sweet, with a very slightly roasty bitterness. It doesn’t taste bad, but it’s a rather boring porter.

This is a little bit thin and watery for a porter.

Not a horrible beer, just not sufficiently porter-ish for me. Reminds me more of a brown ale with a little bit of added roastiness.

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Photo of LovenHoppiness
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Anew
3/5  rDev -16%

Photo of khargro2
3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jmathis
3/5  rDev -16%

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Porter from Eel River Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 268 ratings